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Incidentally, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway now owns 240 million shares of Apple, giving the company a $42.5 billion stake in the Cupertino-based company.

Berkshire's initial investment in Apple was small, suggesting it was made by one of Buffett's investment deputies. The latest 75 million shares are further addition to its now existing stock.

Buffett has said operating results are a better barometer of company performance, in part because Berkshire's more than $170 billion stock portfolio can fluctuate from quarter to quarter. Apple is the exception to his rule, clearly he feels comfortable enough that he understands the company and its business to have made such a sizeable call on it given that its shares now represent nearly a quarter of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio.

Mr. Buffett's increased stake, which was confirmed by a representative of the billionaire investor, pushed Apple's shares up as much as 4.2% to $184.25, taking the company's market value to about $906 billion.

"Wells Fargo is a company that proved the efficacy of incentives, and it's just that they just had the wrong incentives", said Buffett.

Morgan Stanley analyst Kai Pan wonders why once tech-stock-shy Buffett thinks the investment in Apple will turn out better than his admitted mistake buying IBM. Two days of US-China trade talks that ended on Friday failed to resolve key differences.

The investor is expected to elaborate further on his Apple investment during this weekend's Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha.

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"I love the idea of having our 5% or whatever it may be grow" to 7% or more "without us laying out a dime", Buffett said.

Its insurance and utility businesses typically account for more than half of the company's net income.

Buffett defended Wells Fargo and its chief executive, Tim Sloan, in response to a question asking when Berkshire would ditch the bank, one of its largest common stock holdings.

Speaking of the US trade deficit, Buffett said he would not like the gap to get too wide, but "when you think about it, it's really not the worst thing in the world to have someone send you the goods that you want and for you to send a piece of paper".

Against this backdrop, Apple reported a reasonable quarter and the stock now stands about $20 per share short of giving it a trillion dollar market capitalisation. The billionaire investor recently sold out of an unsuccessful investment in IBM Corp, at the same time he was buying Apple.

Apple reported $61.1 billion in revenue for the March quarter, up from $52.9 billion previous year, and promised $100 billion in additional stock buybacks. In Friday trading, the Class A shares closed at$292,600, and the Class B shares at $195.64.


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